Lake Cowichan – Re: the April 8 pro-Conservative letter to the editor by Reed Elley where Mr. Elley promotes the virtues of the Conservative government’s policies for middle class Canadians. I am a fairly solid middle class Canadian and I am compelled to disagree with Mr. Elley as I am experiencing the erosion of my middle class status as, I believe, a direct result of the last eight years of Conservative policies. The people in the lower financial tiers who need the help the most, are, in my opinion, being left behind by the Conservative blue bus.
Mr Elley says that pension income splitting is beneficial to seniors but does not elaborate on which or how many seniors actually get financially ahead with this tax policy. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “the poorer the senior’s family, the less support it receives. In fact ‘the poorest 10 per cent of seniors receive an average of 10 cents in terms of a tax break from this loophole, whereas the richest 10 per cent receive an average of $820 in perks.”
Mr. Elley further touts the Conservatives recent “family tax cut” policy, which for tax purposes will allow couples with kids to shift part of their incomes and benefit from the lower wage earner of the two to pay less tax, up to $2,000. For single parents, lower income families, and couples with comparable incomes this policy is not a financial advantage. These are the people who need financial help the most!
As for the Conservative government’s tenure over the last eight years, I would argue we all are very much worse off on various economic levels that affect the middle to lower class as the Harper government’s spending has far exceeded its intake in for the last six years. As a result, over $170 billion has been added to the national debt during Mr. Harper’s watch.
In addition, the economy is now deflating, the dollar which was worth $1.04 U.S. four years ago, is now at 78 cents, increasing the cost of imports by 20 per cent. Have you seen the price of food lately? The finances required for goods and services do not bode well for middle class people either, many of whom have to work several jobs to make ends meet.
The future looks just as bleak as Canada’s manufacturing sector, which has been eroded over the Harper reign and replaced with dependence on oil and residential real estate, both of which are on the way to new chronic lows.
The damage done to the lower and middle class by the Conservative government over the last eight years is very apparent and I hope that voters in the upcoming federal election allow an alternative party (NDP, Green, or Liberal) an opportunity to mitigate the damage.